I’m trying to understand how dental implants work a bit better. I keep reading how they can make me look younger. I’m not necessarily old at 64, but I’ve had dentures for about 12 years (dental issues in my younger days and no money to fix them) and my jaw seems like it’s shorter, though I’m not even sure that’s right. I’m looking into a number of solutions to help lift my face—dental implants, cosmetic surgery, and even Botox, but I can’t tell what I can reasonably expect from each option. Any insights would be helpful.
It’s difficult to say whether dental implants will lift your face the way you’re hoping or not. You’d need to talk with a dentist who can see you and have you specifically point out the areas that are bothering you. However, some general insights will be outlined below, and they should help you understand how they work a bit better, so it’s easier for you to see if they’ll address your concerns.
When Natural Teeth Are Lost, the Jaw Bone “Melts” Away
The body tries to put resources where they’re needed. Without tooth roots extending into the jaw, the body assumes the bone isn’t necessary anymore and starts to dissolve the bone away. The process is known as “resorption.”
Eventually, People Develop “Facial Collapse”
What you’re experiencing now sounds like “facial collapse.” That’s what happens when a significant amount of bone has resorbed and the jaw area starts to look sunken in or short. It makes you look older and can add wrinkles as well.
Dental Implants Function Like Natural Teeth
Because dental implants have “roots,” they mimic your natural teeth and can stop or slow resorption, which means less chance for facial collapse. If you get them soon after the tooth is lost, your face shape doesn’t usually change.
Once Bone is Lost, It’s Gone, But You Still Have Options
Bone loss presents a number of problems. It makes you look older, yes, but it also means there often isn’t enough bone to anchor a dental implant into. There are ways dentists can work around this. Sometimes, a procedure like the all-on-four is used or implants can be placed at an angle to anchor a denture. Other times, grafting can be done to build the bone back up.
This in mind, implants aren’t going to be a miracle cure for you at this point if you are indeed experiencing facial collapse. However, they can be used to create more vertical dimension and, along with other procedures, can help rebuild your smile, so you do have that younger “lifted” look you want.
Have a Consultation or Two
The best way to find out what your options are and what’s necessary to boost your smile or help reshape your face is to connect with a dentist for a consultation. It doesn’t sound like you’re already established with someone, so it’s not a bad idea to check in with a couple to see how each would approach it and what they recommend.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Steve Sirin, an Elgin Dental implants provider.